Creative Writing Poetry

NaPoWriMo Day21 : The storm (Swedish homophonic translation)

Today’s optional prompt asks you to make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it. What does that mean? Well, it means to try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice.


I chose a Swedish poem ‘ Lived time, lived place’ . I did the homophonic translation (below the original poem) as per the prompt and it has nothing to do with what the original poem means.

Live Time Live Place

levd tid, levd plats
som minnet tvingar in i presens
tecknad i månljuset genom porten
i soldiset genom portarna
en mor fanns, en mors eko
universum utvidgar sig
universum utvidgar sig
prövande, tvingande, ordande
genom portarna i det japanska tecknet
för passivt brukad yta, negativ rymd
att den villkorade tomheten
inte är tömd; att något, att genom
soldimman bokstavera Ma
The Storm (Homophonic Translation) Do not read the spaces in between the stanzas. Its a formatting error.

lived tides, lived plates
some minutes in the present linger on
If Man takes then he must set,’ the storm portends
‘Show solidarity, set,’ the storm portends
Once more it calls, once more it echoes

The Universe sings out with anger
The Universe sings out with anger’
For one day, to win, pay heed to me,’ the storm portends. ‘Its not a threat, replenish if you take’
If you’re passive, it will break, negativity shall spread
Attention! Your will could save your tomorrow

and the day after tomorrow; Attention ye’ maggot!
Pay attention to the storm
Be a man, be a soldier, save your Ma
storm
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Today’s poetry resource is the archives of Poetry International, where you’ll find poems from all over the world, both in their original languages and in translation.

As an example, here are the first four lines of a poem by the Norwegian poet Gro Dahle:

Linnea ligger syk under treet
‒ Oj oj oj, hvisker treet
Og treet lar sine blader falle
Det store treet, det snille treet

Based on the sound alone, I might translate this as

Lithe lines sink under the street.
Oh, that wintry street.
Oh, street of signs like falling blades
A street of shops and smiles.

2 comments on “NaPoWriMo Day21 : The storm (Swedish homophonic translation)

  1. Clap clap clap… wonderful…

    Like

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